Health

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Indiana regularly falls in the bottom when it comes to state health rankings—with groups from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to Wallethub finding the state one of the least healthy in the nation. However, a recent ranking placing the state 46th for older Americans’ health raises questions about ranking systems’ conflicts of interest.

Gretchen Frazee / indianapublicmedia.org/news

Tippecanoe County has become Indiana’s ninth with a declared public health emergency – an intermediate step in establishing a needle exchange in the county.

State Health Commissioner Jerome Adams Thursday approved the request from Tippecanoe County Health Officer Jeremy Adler, based primarily on increased numbers of hepatitis C cases linked to IV drug use.

The city of Lafayette has battled a spike in major crimes in the past several years, and elected officials including Mayor Tony Roswarski  have attributed the additional crime to a corresponding drug use epidemic.

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Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky has seen donations increase 25-fold in the weeks following this year’s elections.

Before the election, the group received approximately 80 donations a week. For the last four weeks, the average has been closer to 2000 a week.

President-elect Donald Trump has said he would appoint a Supreme Court judge who would be likely to oppose Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that legalized abortion. Trump’s vice presidential pick, Indiana Governor Mike Pence, has a history of signing anti-abortion legislation into law.

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Indianapolis-based Eli Lilly is doubling down on its anti-Alzheimer’s disease efforts. Even though a high-profile Alzheimer’s drug failed its most recent trial, the pharma giant is still holding out hope the science behind the therapy can work.

Solanezumab would have been a Prozac-style blockbuster for Lilly. Instead, a late-stage clinical trial found it didn’t work the way scientists hoped.

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The Indiana State Department of Health has announced the recipients of $13 million in grants aimed at stemming Indiana’s high infant mortality rate.

The money comes from the departments Safety PIN grant program, which the state legislature created in 2015 as a response to the concerning trend.

In, 2014, the state’s infant mortality rate was 7 per every 1000 births, compared with the national average of 5.8.

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A new report focuses on food allergies as a public health concern, calling for more resources and education.

The 18-month study from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine examines public health policies and makes recommendations for more research and education. 

IUPUI Communication professor Jennifer Bute serves on a national food allergy board and says the report is encouraging.

"The report explicitly says that this is a chronic health condition that has been ignored for far too long," Bute says.

Sarah Fentem / WBAA

A group created to respond to Indiana's growing drug abuse epidemic will now give way to a permanent commission studying the same topic.

The Governor’s Task Force on Drug Enforcement, Treatment and Prevention met for the final time Monday.

The temporary task force was created to study the state’s drug epidemic and recommend actions to the governor. A permanent replacement —the Indiana Commission to Combat Drug Abuse—will begin meeting in 2017.

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The first half of the federal trial challenging the planned merger between insurance giants Anthem and Cigna ended Friday, and a federal judge could rule in the next two weeks.

The Department of Justice sued to block the merger between the two companies, arguing consolidating two of the country’s so-called “Big Five” insurers would tamp down on competition and result in fewer options and higher costs for consumers.

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After a promising Alzheimer’s drug failed a late-stage clinical trial, pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly has announced it will be laying off workers around the country.

The news of layoffs follows last month’s announcement concerning the failure of Solanezumab, which Lilly hoped would be the first drug to slow the progression of Alzheimer’s Disease.

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A $6 billion healthcare bill making its way through Congress could have significant effects on health, industry and research in the Hoosier State.

The 21st Century Cures Act was approved by a wide majority in the House Wednesday. It offers up nearly $5 billion in research spending through the National Institutes of Health, which funnels the cash to schools such as Purdue and Indiana University.

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